1850 – 1924
Born into a poor farming family in Fresnes, Jules-Auguste Habert-Dys was saved from a life of hard labor by a “weak constitution” and was apprenticed to a local ceramics manufacturer to learn the trade. He quickly showed an aptitude for ornamentation and at the age of 23 left for Paris where he studied at the esteemed École des Beaux Arts.
Though the dream of being an artist was overtaken by the need to earn a living, Habert-Dys had the very good fortune to make the acquaintance of the engraver Félix Bracquemond who was also the artistic director of Havilands Ceramics in Limoges. He hired Habert-Dys to paint ceramics and offered constructive advice and criticism allowing the student to hone his artistic skills in a practical situation. With his unique synthesis of the fashionable Japonism and the still flowering Art Nouveau movement, Habert-Dys became not only a superb designer and decorator but a masterful illustrator and a regular contributor to the journal “L’Art”.